As Convergence 2015 wrapped, we learned that the next two events are on the calendar: Convergence 2015 EMEA, November 30 - December 3 and Convergence 2016, April 4 - 7, 2016 in New Orleans. We also understood that our attendance plans may shift to adapt to the evolution of Convergence. Microsoft’s go-forward strategy will position the event for business with a broad view of Microsoft product in the context of larger trends in technology, business and economics.
Microsoft North America President Judson Althoff’s focus on the evolving Convergence strategy accompanied his recommendation to Dynamics users that they attend future Dynamic Communities’ User Group Summit events. I sat down with Andy Hafer, Dynamic Communities CEO, to get his viewpoints on the scenarios and specifically, what the impact this evolution may have on ISVs.
“With Convergence evolving to showcase Dynamics in addition to a range of other products like Office 365 and Azure, Dynamic Communities is also updating its outlook on the future of its Summit events,” stated Hafer. “While we will continue to count on Microsoft to offer Dynamics-specific content during Convergence, given the broadening of the scope, we can certainly anticipate that the ratio of content will go down.”
The User Groups have always emphasized Dynamics-driven content applicable to all roles within Dynamics customers, including end users and middle managers, and the Summit events are no exception. Hafer commented that the Summits will continue to operate as a peer-to-peer conference that welcomes Microsoft’s continued support of their customers through the Summits.
"The evolution of Microsoft’s event strategy puts newfound opportunity and responsibility on the User Groups for their Summits and other programs to fill in a key element of the landscape,” continued Hafer. And this responsibility not only falls on Dynamic Communities, but ISVs supporting the User Groups will take on a larger role as well.
ISVs that leverage Convergence as a key marketing program each year will experience more decision-makers roaming the Convergence expo hall relative to before. And as the density of Dynamics customer traffic goes down, ISVs will face a greater battle for mind share and visibility at the event. To regain their position within the user community, ISVs will find that the value in supporting and sponsoring the user group Summit events will intensify.
“Summit has always relied on key members of the partner and ISV community to deliver solid content. As we anticipate Summit attendance increasing, the value for sponsorship and participation in general, will be much more rewarding for ISVs committed to engaging the Dynamics user community,” added Hafer.
ISVs will also benefit from the connection with Microsoft leadership that will be in attendance at the Summits. Dynamic Communities is currently engaged with Microsoft to discuss the creation of key “real estate areas” at the Summit events where Microsoft will have dedicated time for announcements, product launches, road map discussions, etc. Overall, Dynamic Communities expects a larger Microsoft presence, specifically from the support and product teams, given the Summit events will serve as one of the primary points of contact with their Dynamics customers.
AXUG, CRMUG, GPUG and NAVUG Summits are scheduled for October 12-16, 2015 in Reno-Tahoe, NV. These events mark a pivotal point in the relationship and role that ISVs play within the Dynamics user community as we navigate the evolution of both the Convergence and User Group Summit events.